Paul L. Caron

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Court Dismisses Lawsuit Against Third Law School: DePaul Can't be Blamed for 'Metamorphosis in Legal Practice'

Phillips v. DePaul University, DePaul LogoNo. 12 CH 3523 (Cook County Circuit Court Sept. 11, 2012):

Plaintiffs' allege it was reasonable to rely on the employment information without making any independent investigation of their own because DePaul is a law school and prospective students should be able to rely on information provided by a law school. Plaintiffs, however, offer no authority standing for the proposition that prospective students or enrolled students may close their eyes to publicly available information on employment opportunities for lawyers and rely solely on the data provided by the educational institution in deciding to enroll at, or stay enrolled at, the institution. Nor have Plaintiffs alleged any facts, or offered any authority to support the proposition that they can reasonably assume that all the employment obtained by DePaul’s graduates was full-time and in the legal profession when no such representation was made. Common sense alone should have allowed Plaintiffs to determine that a graduate making $20,000 a year is not employed as a  lawyer. ...

DePaul cannot be blamed for the fact that eight of the nine plaintiffs graduated at a time which was witness to a metamorphosis in the practice of law due to a number of factors not the least of which was the height of a tumultuous and deep recession that seriously affected employment in the legal profession.

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I understand that the court doesn't have a way to compensate the people who believed all the information that was publicly available even five years ago (you couldn't find anything that said law school was a terrible bet at the time the plaintiffs entered law school).

But I really wish the courts would stop telling the public outright that only an idiot would believe the people who protect the reputation of the legal system. It's embarrassing and it hurts all of us in the long term.

At the very least, these court decisions indicate that the ABA has completely failed to protect the reputation and integrity of the legal profession, if we really are, as the court claims, at the point where only an idiot could believe an ABA-accredited law school.

Posted by: Liz | Sep 15, 2012 11:31:36 AM

TaxProf (I've asked LawProf over at LawScam as well),

As a quick fix (these lawsuits will keep coming, but the road to justice is going to be very long and hard) could you please post (on a separate page) the excerpts (including judges' names) from the DePaul and Cooley cases that more-or-less say that law schools are free to post false/misleading employment statistics.

Your average law school applicant is unlikely to believe that without easy-to-access citation.

A single, simple page highlighting these ethically bankrupt rulings can be easily linked to - allowing tens of thousands of financially ruined law grads to warn off hundreds of thousands of potential applicants.

In a single place, easily.

Without requiring any assistance from "our" "justice system".

And it can be done in an hour or two.

Please - you have done so much good - a bit more specialized effort would have tremendous results.

Thank you for your efforts.

Posted by: cas127 | Sep 13, 2012 4:45:03 PM